FIFA World Cup: Messi scores as Argentina eliminate Australia to reach quarter-finals

The skipper scored his first-ever goal in FIFA World Cup's knockout stage

By Web Desk
December 04, 2022
Lionel Messi celebrating with Julian Alvarez during Argentina's clash against Australia — Twitter/Bleacher Report

Lionel Messi scored in his 1000th career game as Argentina beat Australia by 2-1 to book a place in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Sunday.

Messi delivered for Argentina when it mattered the most as he scored in the 35th minute to give his side a 1-0 lead. Defender Nicolas Otamendi couldn't control a first-time ball put in by Alexis Mac Allister, but luckily it fell right in front of Messi, allowing him to calmly place it in the left bottom corner.

Messi, in his 1000th career match, scored his first-ever goal in FIFA World Cup's knockout game which is surprising for his fans.

Australia, who made the knockout rounds in 2006 when they had Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill, and Mark Viduka in their ranks, have been eliminated after winning back-to-back World Cup games for the first time in the group stage.

They advanced to the knockout rounds in second place behind the defending champions France in Group D.

Four minutes into the second half, Messi had another chance, but he couldn't quite cash in the opportunity as his deflected ended in the save hands of the Australia goalkeeper.

Minutes later, a sloppy back pass by Otamendi could have cost Argentina the lead, but their goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was quick to clear the ball.

In the 57th minute, Australia's goalkeeper gifted Alvarez a superb opportunity, which the number nine took advantage of to extend Argentina's lead to two goals.

The Socceroos scored in the 78th minute after Craig Goodwin struck a powerful shoot that hit the defender and eventually ended up in the back of the net.

In a bid to equalise, Australia left fullback Aziz Behich gave Argentina a massive scare as he dribbled past four players but unfortunately he couldn't convert as his shot was blocked by Lisandro Martinez.

Lautaro Martinez, who replaced Alvarez, had a big chance to regain the two-goal lead in the 89th minute as Messi served the ball on the plate but the Inter Milan striker curled the ball away.

The 25-year-old had another chance in the stoppage time to give Argentina some room to breathe, but he hit the ball straight to the keeper.

Australia came close to an equaliser, but goalkeeper Martinez made a magnificent save in the last minute of the stoppage time to win the game for Argentina.

Argentina, a two-time champion, suffered arguably the biggest shock in Qatar when they lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their first game. There wouldn't be a repetition, though.

After losing to France at this stage in the previous edition, Argentina progressed to the quarterfinals for the first time in eight years.

Australia's performance in the Round of 16 in 2006 was equaled, matching their best-ever FIFA World Cup performance, but they were unable to surpass it and advance one round further.